Making it less abstract

arun simon
5 min readJan 13, 2024

Love quotations form the heart of Christianity. Meanwhile Christians (like other humans) struggle there. It’s abstract for many people. As we progress in life, there can be some incidents which give flesh and blood to the idea/concept of love. I can recollect atleast 3 such grand moments; after briefly mentioning of the first two moments, I speak elaborately of the third.

  1. Fr Philip Terrassa SJ, during one of our group building sessions, gave us a definition for love. “Love is not a feeling, but a decision”. I have heard others defining love as a choice. These takes on love help me to understand how loving the enemy is possible.
  2. Personal experiences of love from parents, siblings, friends etc makes love tangible for us. As a Christian, another experience of love comes from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Even reading the life of great souls who did wonders in the world in and out of love makes it further tangible.
  3. I happened to read a book by Gary Chapman. One of my Swiss friends Nora, whom I met at one of my favourite places in the world called Taizé, send me this book. Post reading the book, she felt that I would like the book and decided to send it to me (costly affair). My first thought upon hearing this was, WHY? What’s so special about this book? Why waste money? I never shared the same to her. Though both were a little sceptical about the efficiency of postal services, I got it well on time. The book vibes with my thinking. A few sensible responses to the common questions. I now have four versions of the same book customized for four specific audiences — spouses, singles, parents of children and teenagers. You realize how deeply I am grateful to you, Nora.

The basic contention of Gary Chapman (with which I vibe much) is that there are five fundamental love languages for the human persons. Each of them will have one predominant/primary love language and the other four will be the secondary ones. While the exact percentages of each language is irrelevant, how the five are distributed is varied in each unique person.

Why on earth to discover our primary love language? It helps us in understanding ourselves. Why identify the primary love languages of our spouses, children, parents, closest friends, bff, favourites, etc? It helps us to love them in the way they appreciate the most. Let me share some of my inferences after reading the book.

  1. Cheryl had words of affirmation as the predominant love language; she is so eager to receive the love in the form of affirmations. One of her closest friends is only giving gifts to show his love and friendship to her, and not at all dealing with her primary love language. Is the friend loving her…yes? Does she really feel and experience it? May be to some extent. How much more effective the situation be, if her friend starts using her primary love language. Parents are loving, but children doesn’t sense it. One spouse loves; the other is not able to sense it. Similar situations are plenty. I think Chapman offers a solution. Not an easy one always, but he surely opens a pathway. Discover and learn to speak other person’s love language.
  2. Tom is also having the words of affirmation as his primary love language. Excessive criticism from a significant person will destroy him, as it pokes on his heart not only as criticism, but also a visible sign of hatred. Ann who appreciates gentle physical touches a lot will be shattered by physical abuses than others (there is no doubt that physical abuses are wrong at all cases, but the effects on people can be varied).
  3. Kim, a person who appreciates quality time will be so delighted with the activities that creates and enhances the connection with his friends. Quality time is much more than physical proximity. Its about togetherness and connection. Benoit who appreciates gift becomes sad when his friend forgets his birthday. Patricia appreciates the acts of services; and super enthusiastic friend over-committing and not fulfilling the same, puts her down terribly.
  4. I don’t think Chapman is classifying people into 5 groups, but his analysis helps us to understand why some actions matter much to a certain person, which doesn’t make any sense for other persons.
  5. Love is about the knowing the love language of the other person, that they experience to the max my expressions of love. I am not only intellectually loving him or her, but their emotional love tank is also filled. “Nothing is more important in parenting teenagers than learning how to effectively meet the teen’s need for emotional love.” This is equally true with all relationships.
  6. A child whose primary language is words of affirmation will continue to have the same primary language. But the types of affirmative phrases that make sense for children may not make sense for teenagers. Love is also an art of learning the newer dialects based of the same langauges, which are used at different contexts.
  7. All of us do need love in all the five love languages. We must share love in all the five too. But if we can incorporate more of the primary languages of others, our relationships will be better.

I strongly believe that many of the relationship issues can be dealt by knowing the love languages of significant persons of our life. It won’t solve all the problems, but can surely reduce many of them.



arun simon

A Jesuit with all the crazyness… Loves Jesus…Loves church, but loves to challenge too… Loves post modern philosophy & Gilles Deleuze.. Loves deep conversations…